The San Jose Police badge from the San Jose Police Department website.

Adopt a Cop

The price of housing is a huge challenge in recruiting police officers to live in San Jose, according to the affable San Jose Chief of Police, Eddie Garcia. Speaking at the 5/14 District 1 Leadership Group, Garcia emphasized the importance of having police officers that live in and participate in the community.

One idea that might start to help in some situations is to steal an idea from the San Jose Giants. That organization has the same challenge of housing staff in this expensive locale. The Giants find host families to house players during the season . This works out great for everyone, as the young players have a host family, while the host family gets to experience life with a professional baseball player.

What if the San Jose Police Department had such a program for its police officers? That is, home owners, particularly those who are senior citizens, could open their spare bedrooms to newly hired San Jose Police Officers for some period.

  • This would provide the opportunity for companionship and extra security for senior citizens who find themselves alone in homes designed for families, but now are occupied by a single resident.
  • The police officers would be living in San Jose neighborhoods, interacting with residences whom they serve.
  • It would provide an opportunity for new police officers to save money, so they could purchase homes and settle in San Jose.

Matching up homeowners with potential police, seems like a good project for a Code for San Jose team.  San Jose residents, what do you think? If you think this is an idea that deserves further exploration, comment below or Tweet this with the hashtag #HeySam.

Of course, this idea could be extended to other city workers. Additionally, when building housing for the homeless, why not set aside some for public safety officers or other city workers?


3 thoughts on “Adopt a Cop”

  1. The following comment was in response to this article from Mayor Liccardo

    View at

    Mayor, thanks for this update and for the progress. Please allow me to add a few suggestions. The premise being that police should be an integral part of the community, as Rockford, Illinois has found by providing police officers with free housing, so they can live where they work:

    “An Illinois City Aims to Move Better Policing Right Into the Neighborhood
    A new policing program in Rockford, Ill., brings officers to live in the areas they patrol so they will get to know the….”

    This is similar to a proposal I called “Adopt a Cop” that would match police officers with elderly people, allowing police officers to live local, while providing a level of companionship and lower-cost housing. 

    This is just one approach for developing low-cost housing options for city workers. 

    Also, instead of recruiting in far-flung places like New York, Hawaii and New Orleans, why isn’t that same money spent on local programs working with youth to groom homegrown trainees and the talent that is here? The problem with recruiting from out of the area is that, like so many tech workers who move here, many will want to eventually return home and San Jose will eventually lose them to other locales. 

    There is PAL with its cadet program, but it seems like there could be a more concerted effort to work with high schools and community colleges (e.g. co-sponsor a “law and enforcement” class) to raise visibility about law enforcement as a career choice. Perhaps part of this effort could also include outreach to older workers displaced from the tech industry.


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